Why Tony Elumelu May Not Forgive Ayo Akinyelure

Tony Elumelu

The corporate world is a community where dogs are known to eat dogs. Within this community, the Chinese anecdote that “the mantis stalks the cicada, unaware of the oriole behind,” is one trend that is as usual as the sun in the sky. So it is with former MD of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Tony Elumelu and Senator Ayo Akinyeleru of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition.

Reputation and integrity are coins that are carefully spent in business because they are precious. Thus, Senator Akinyeleru inadvertently accusing Tony Elumelu of fencing 41 billion away from NITEL and MTEL isn’t something that can be immediately forgiven or forgotten.

Drawing from what Senator Akinyeleru reported from his findings, UBA—under Elumelu—found loopholes in the waiting period of MTEL taking over from NITEL and secretly withdrew about 41 billion of the 42 billion that was liquidated as a result of the transactions of the telecommunication companies. In other words, while shareholders were waiting for the natural storm of company takeover to blow over, Elumelu’s bank and team allegedly dragged 41 billion away, under the cover of night.

Responding to the allegations, Elumelu’s lawyers maintain that the case is much more complex than what Senator Akinyeleru is reporting. According to them, it is still undergoing judicial review and interrogation, which is why the court has suspended public declarations and accusations until everything is settled. Akinyeleru’s public declaration and accusation are consequently baseless, unwarranted, defamatory, and deriving from personal and ulterior motives. Elumelu did not stop there.

Senator Ayo Akinyeleru has been threatened with a lawsuit, which will immediately take effect should he refuse to apologise for his reports, retract them, and essentially restore the integrity of Tony Elumelu.

As in the case of farmlands, once the seeds of integrity are shown to be dead, there’s no point stressing the size and fruits of reputation—just sell the land. This is what Senator Akinyeleru’s reports mean for Elumelu, and why the latter cannot be in a hurry to embrace the former.